Dwight Howard: Rockets Up Ante in Trade Talks with Magic

Talib BabbCorrespondent IJuly 14, 2012

NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 28: Dwight Howard #12 of the Orlando Magic looks on against the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden on March 28, 2012 in New York City. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images)
Chris Trotman/Getty Images

The Houston Rockets have gone back to the drawing board and created a new offer for Orlando Magic superstar center Dwight Howard. The Rockets are now willing to take several long-term salary players from the Magic in an effort to just keep it a two-team trade.

According to ESPN, now that the Rockets have used their amnesty clause to release forward Luis Scola, they are now in the position to take the contracts of Glen Davis, Jason Richardson and Chris Duhon. They also have the opportunity to offer the Magic future first-round draft picks.  

They also are willing to give players they drafted in June. Jeremy Lamb, Terrence Jones and Royce White are being used as trade bait. The Rockets are not giving up all three, but they will deal two in hopes for Howard in return.

Houston is trying to help the Magic get a clean slate for their payroll for the post-Howard rebuilding effort. The Rockets believe they have the best offer for Howard and no other team has the ability to offer as much as them. 

They are also not buying all the talk that Howard does not want to be in Houston. Rumors are swirling that Howard will not commit long term to the Rockets and will just play out next season, then walk in free agency next summer.

If Houston were to land Howard, they will try to do anything they can to keep him a Rocket. However, if they feel that their chances of keeping him long term are not good, they will then deal him before the February trade deadline. 

The Magic and GM Rob Hennigan are looking to take a package of youngsters and future first-round picks along with getting rid of the long-term salary players, sources say. Then they would like to fish for Andrew Bynum as their replacement for Howard.

Many possibilities are open right now and nothing is for certain about Howard's future. For now, the saga continues.